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The City Council has approved borrowing to extend the sewer line up Holmes Road to Arrowhead.

Pittsfield Council OKs Arrowhead Sewer Extension

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City sewer will be extended to Herman Melville's Arrowhead, benefitting more than 5,000 visitors a year.

The City Council on Tuesday approved a $650,000 borrowing under the Sewer Enterprise Fund for the Holmes Road project that will also allow a couple of residential homes to connect. It passed 8-1 with Councilor at Large Earl Persip III and Ward 6 Councilor Dina Lampiasi absent and Ward 3 Councilor Matthew Wrinn in opposition.

"Just know that the sewer extension will benefit over 5000 visitors," Berkshire County Historical Society Executive Director Lesley Herzberg said.

"It's not just like you're extending a sewer for one household. The nonprofit that is Arrowhead benefits the city in a myriad of ways and we will continue to do that with your support."

The approximately 700-foot extension includes the installation of two deep manholes and will connect two properties to the city sewer. Construction will cost $500,000, a 20 percent contingency will cost $100,000, and the construction administration and resident engineer will cost $50,000.

Karen Kalinowsky, a former councilor, spoke against the borrowing, fearing the impact on taxpayers.  She would like to see leftover American Rescue Plan Act funds used for the project.

"I have nothing against Arrowhead. They're a great organization. My mom volunteered for years giving tours there," she said. "But we are borrowing money that the taxpayers have to pay back."

Mayor Peter Marchetti explained that there was roughly $300,000 of unallocated ARPA funds when he took office. As a placeholder, he allocated $200,000 to the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee.

All ARPA funds must be allocated by the end of the year and the ARPA task force is working with nonprofits to see what they need to meet goals and intend to have unused funds returned to the city and allocated for future infrastructure projects.

"I will tell you councilor that there's a whole mess of other infrastructure projects coming so do you want to borrow now or do you want to borrow later?" Marchetti said to Councilor at Large Kathy Amuso when asked about using $40,000 in leftover ARPA monies.

He said the city will have to borrow for infrastructure at some point and would prefer to stick with the original proposal.

Ward 1 Councilor Kenneth Warren disagreed with the use of ARPA funds for this project, explaining that the bonding makes more sense.

"ARPA can be used for generally a lot of things," he said. "Bonding can only be used for items that are subject to bonding."

Though he supported the borrowing, he wants the city to make every effort to look into using excess funds leftover from different projects.

Finance Director Matthew Kerwood said the accounts Warren sent to him to investigate were primarily roadwork and stormwater management projects, which were identified as a priority by the council and will be used.

"I'm not going to go against the bonding because I think it's worthwhile," Warren said.

"There are times when we need to bond but my suggestion is, as you can see how all of us are trying hard to save monies this would be a great place."

The council also approved a $300,000 borrowing for the construction of a new taxi lane at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport. This will cover the costs of an engineering phase and will be reduced by federal and state grant monies that have been awarded to the airport.

The local share required is $15,000.

"This project is being funded 95 percent by the (Federal Aviation Administration) and the state so our local share of this $300,000 will end up being $15,000 when it's all said and done," Kerwood said.

Tags: arrowhead,   sewer,   

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Dalton Planning Board Works to Update Special Permit Fees

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Planning Board is navigating how to update its special permit fees to bring them up to date with the current costs of services. 
During the board meeting last week, Town Planner Janko Tomasic said the cost of completing the services is higher than what it costs to take action on the application.
The current application fee charged by the Board of Appeals and the Planning Board is $375. 
This fee is intended to cover the cost of labor, time, materials, postage for the certified abutters list for abutter notification, postage for the certified mail for the notice of the decision, and two Berkshire Eagle legal advertisements for the public hearing.
"According to the data, the base cost for a permit application is barely enough to cover the cost of the application process," according to Tomasic's special-permit costs breakdown. 
Based on the last six permits, the least expensive permit is $414 to complete because of the increase in cost for the steps in the permit process.   
The flat certified mail fee for eight letters is $69.52, which covers the cost of certified mail to abutting towns, the applicant, and notice of the decision to the applicant
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